Spontaneous Poetics 128 – (Morning Meditation – 2)

[Buddhist Practitioners (students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche) – Shambhala Training – Land O’ Lakes Seminary, 1976, Land O’Lakes,]

AG: How many here sit?  (How many) have sat? And how many have not? Raise your hands. Of those that raised their hands, how many have not gone to get instruction in sitting? Do you know? I guess you may or may not know about that, but part of the Naropa services includes free sitting instruction, which you can get by going up to the Naropa office at 1441 Broadway, and they’ll assign a meditation instructor to you, who will show you
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Spontaneous Poetics – 127 (Morning Meditation – 1)

[Philip Whalen in ceremonial Zen garb at the Hartford Street Zen Center, San Francisco, circa 1991]

Allen Ginsberg’s Spontaneous Poetics/Improvised Poetics class continues,  August 6 1976.

[Original transcriber’s note – “As in all tapes from this summer, this is recorded by a not-very-attentive teacher’s assistant somewhere in the middle of the lecture hall. The windows are open, it’s summer, the students are restless and the dialogue between Ginsberg and (Philip) Whalen is often (regrettably) lost in the mix”]

[Whalen arrives in the classroom, partially attired in ceremonial robes]

AG: (Oh! the) glory! Philip Whalen:  This is only part

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Spontaneous Poetics – 125 (Blake – The Mental Traveller)

AG: There is another odder way of looking at it that I always dug, in Blake, in “The Mental Traveller”. Does anybody know that poem? – “The Mental Traveller”? – It’s one of the strangest poems ever written, which (W.B) Yeats, who was a great commentator on Blake, still found indecipherable. It’s somewhat a cycle that comes back to itself – like a long story-poem, like a dream, like our own existence, or like Finnegan’s Wake, a construction that begins somewhere in the … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 112 – Whitman 4)

File:Walt Whitman - George Collins Cox.jpg

[Walt Whitman in New York, 1887, aged 68, photograph by George C.Cox]

AG: (Late Whitman) – “Songs of Parting”, now, however… [Allen begins by reading Whitman’s “As the Time Draws Nigh” – “As the time draws nigh glooming a cloud/ A dread beyond of I know not what darkens me/  I shall go forth/I shall traverse the States awhile, but I cannot tell whither or how/long/  Perhaps soon some day or night while I am singing my voice will/suddenly cease./ O book, O chants! must all then amount to but this?/ Must we barely arrive at the … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 108 (Blues – 3 – Allen Ginsberg)

Student: Are all those (records you played) available on Harry Smith’s anthology?

AG: No – The “James Alley Blues” is, Richard “Rabbit” Brown singing.  The “C.C.Rider” and “Jelly Bean Blues, both by Ma Rainey, are on a collection of Ma Rainey that may be (on) Columbia (Records), but they’re available (there are about four or five albums of Ma Rainey now re-issued [1976] and they’re available). The Jacksonville Blues“, I don’t know where that’s from. A friend of mine was looking through this book (The Blues Line) and had a cassette, … Read More

Peter Orlovsky & Jackson MacLow 1975 Naropa reading (with harmonious introduction by Allen Ginsberg)

Jackson Mac Low, photo by Anne Tardos

Continuing with our choice selections from the remarkable Naropa Institute Archives. Here‘s Peter Orlovsky and Jackson MacLow from 1975. (Allen, accompanying himself on harmonium, chooses to improvise/ sing the introductions on this particular occasion).
A transcription of his introduction follows:
AG: (The) Kerouac Institute for the School of Disembodied Poetics will now continue its cycle of poetry readings by famous nuts and neurotics and people who watch their diet-etics/ two moralist vegetarians, years gone by, Jackson MacLow and Peter Orlov-sky. Peter’s the Professor of Bucolic Poesy, a pastoral poet and  farmer boy is he, originally, also a Beatnik,
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Spontaneous Poetics – 96 (Artaud-2)

[Antonin Artaud – Self Portrait, 24 June, 1947]

AG: I think (that Artaud had) some influence on Samuel Beckett actually, and an enormous influence, in the (19)40’s, on American poetry, in Black Mountain, and on myself, immediately, about 1948, in a mental hospital with Carl Solomon. Carl had a copy in French of this poem [“Here Lies” (Ci-gît)] and introduced (to me), that “Dakantal/dakis tekel/ ta redaba/ ta redabel/ de stra muntils/ o ept anis/ o ept atra..” and it was, like, a very exquisite menacing mantra, penetrating through the babble of the language of the bughouse. Yeah?… Read More

Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Diane di Prima Reading Naropa 1974

[Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman ]

Another vintage Naropa audio, following on from this and this. This, arguably the earliest – from 1974 – Allen, Anne Waldman and Diane di Prima at the nascent Naropa Institute, July 30, 1974 – in two parts.
“Can you hear in the back? – Raise your hands if you cannot.”
First part: After introductory remarks, the reading-order and format is established. Anne Waldman: “I’m going to start, and then Allen will read and then Diane, and then I think we’ll have a short break, and then we’ll go round quickly again. First set … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 73 (Universal and Particular)

[William Blake – Albion Rose from “A Large Book of Designs” (1793-6)]

“..everyone has language moving within them, everybody has secret thoughts and direct, absolute, perceptions, big as any Buddha. It’s simply that the mind becomes limited to thinking that the proper mode of discourse, or the form that is socially appreciable, is “Jack and Jill went up the hill..”

AG: So, from this point of view, everyone is, as (William) Blake says), a vast world of thought-forms, everybody’s a poet, that is, everybody has a consciousness, a Buddha-mind, everyone has a Buddha-nature, everyone has all the insights of

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What The East Means To Me – Allen Ginsberg at Kyota Seika

Yesterday’s transcription of Allen’s Q & A at the Kyoto Seika University, Japan, on November 2 1988, is followed today by footage (and transcription) of the full lecture – “What the East Means To Me” – Katagiri Yuzuru is once again the accomplished interpreter/translator. Our thanks, once again, to videographer, Ken Rodgers.

AG: So.. the subject is “What the East Means To Me”. So I will give a chronological account. One of my first memories was of the Pop figure, Pop art figure, kitsch figure, or comic-strip figure of a sinister Oriental, a Chinaman, Fu Manchu. He had a long … Read More